Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lightning Ridge

28th February
Peter made the decision today that we will still go to Lightning Ridge so off we go. Arrived Lightning Ridge around 4.45pm to rain, only light, but it looks like it’s meant to be here for a few days, oh well not much you can do about the weather.$26.00 a night

1st March
Nice morning so caught up on some washing $4.00 a pop, some things you just don’t get away from, even when travelling. Got all the tourist  information ,then headed up town to visit the John Murray Art Gallery. John Murray is a local artist, his art being featured in many of the businesses around town, even Peter liked his stuff.

They had four Car Door Tours (we did self guided)Tourist Information gives you a map, which you pay  $1.00 for, has information on the stops along the way, we did 3 out of the 4 as the last one was a dry weather track.

 Yellow Car Door marker

One of the many mine shafts which are abandoned 

Not sure what we expected to see on these tours,there were mullock heaps everywhere (Opal dirt that has been dug up and removed, then dumped around the shafts or pushed out of open-cuts.)Old mine shafts,shacks,abandoned cars & old machinery, trucks ,old open mine site, all very interesting.

Amigo's castle,a privately owned home,built from iron stone

 Church built for a movie called "Goddess of 1967"a art house film,the church is made from corrugated iron

After we had finished our tours we went for a soak at the local Artesian Baths, 2km from town, free to the public, very nice & relaxing, change rooms & toilets there also.

Peter having a soak at the Artesian Baths

 Lightning Ridge Bore Baths have warm artesian waters rich in potassium salts, which are therapeutic for tired and aching muscles.The water is piped from a sub artesian basin, 900 metres below the surface and flows at a rate of 20 litres per second

Had tea at the Bowling Club,not a very friendly bunch of people ,or the pub we went to earlier
2nd March
Today we booked to go on the Chamber of the Black Hand Tour,$60 for the two of us. Donned a hard hat & headed down 83 steps into the mine, a cool 25oc I think our guide David said, he was the owner. David took us through the mine giving a very informative talk as he went.

Once that was finished we then went through to see some 500 odd sandstone carvings, these are 14 years of one man’s passion, amazing.

  Another trip to the Baths before lunch, then we decided to visit another opal mining area, which have three very unique Pubs.After leaving Lightning Ridge we headed toward Cumborah,a very straight & flat road, goats roaming everywhere, we were wondering if they were wild, but a sign further on said they were farmed goats.

We did the circuit of these pubs stating at The Club in the Scrub(The Grawin Opal Miners Sports Club)with 600 members,population of around 400.Moving on to Sheepyard Inn,where we met an interesting fellow called Milton,he was a miner in his younger days.

 The Club in the Scrub,an actual functioning golf club

We did some noodling between the Sheepyard & the Hilton Pub along the edge of the road after we stopped & spoke to a fellow about directions(ended up we were heading the wrong way,you could get really lost out there)The fellow we spoke to was picking up bits of Opal from the mullock that had been used on the road.We picked up a few bits,but weren’t really sure if they were opal or not,so when we ran into Milton again(at the Hilton) we showed him,he said it was natural opal ,the stuff they want has flaws which give you all the different colors.At least we can say we went noodling.It was around 140km return,but we both enjoyed the trip out there.

We got back to Lightning Ridge around 6.30pm ,then went & had another relax in the Artesian Baths.

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